DOT Secretary Tugade suspends .75meter physical distancing reduction in public vehicles

At the height of confusion on the reduction of physical distancing in public vehicles, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has suspended the intended .75- meter distance effective immediately.

Controversy erupted when Tugade and other stakeholders had implemented recently the reduction of physical distancing from 1 meter to .75 for the next two weeks.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año voiced his concern that the reduction would increase COVID-19 cases if implemented contrary to the DOH aggressive plan to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 cases. Even DOH Secretary Francisco Duque opposed the plan, fearing the possible increase of coronavirus transmission.As for those officials who are in favour of the reduction led by Tugade, they say that there would be an increase of passenger capacity because many businesses are opening for economic recovery.Communication Secretary Harry Roque however claimed that there were DOH representatives who did not raise any question against the reduction in the meeting with the health officials.

UP OCTA Research Team founder Prof. Ranjit Rye said that the plan to relax physical distancing in public transportation could possibly increase COVID-19 transmission and negatively affect the country’s anti-virus campaign.

Roque added that President Duterte will announce decision on the reduction of physical distancing in public transportation.

Meanwhile, The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) has fielded 21 trains running simultaneously along its main line, the first time since the service was built.

“First time in history po na nakapag-field o nakapaglabas/nakapagpatakbo ang MRT-3 sa main line ng 21 train sets,” a message by DOT Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran.

The increase of available transportation will help workers to resume their work, leading the Philippine economy to recover quickly.